The much-touted Child Protection Bill is ready to go before Parliament, perhaps as soon as in a few days, Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Kirk Humphrey said on Tuesday.
Addressing the opening ceremony of The LIVITY Project Policy Forum on Inclusive Approaches to Justice at the Barbados Hilton, he gave an update on the progress of the legislation under which the reporting of child abuse will become mandatory and wandering will no longer be a criminal offence.
Humphrey said it was one of the laws he predicted would pass in short order.
“We worked to make sure that we [will pass] legislation in the next few days, I hope, on child protection. The legislation is finished, completely finished, [and] about to be laid in Parliament to allow us to protect the nation’s children,” he said.
“We will pass this year, hopefully by April, legislation for persons with disabilities,” he added, thanking Member of Parliament and chairman of the Advisory Committee on Disabilities, Edmund Hinkson, his deputy Kerryann Ifill, and others who contributed to work on the legislation.
Humphrey contended that all stakeholders must make it a priority to improve the lives of people with disabilities which, in turn, will assist the country in creating more sustainable growth in various sectors.
“I do not know how any rational person, given the difficulties both externally and internally, could then seek to limit the potential of their own citizenry from participating in the development of the country when we are already too limited, to begin with,” he said.
“That we have not created a space for persons with disabilities is very perplexing to me, and I hope that when we get the work through that we are able to make a change in that regard.”
Minister Humphrey also pointed to the pending amalgamation of the social services into the Department of Family Services, projected to be completed by May this year.
“I hope that would allow us to deliver goods and services faster to the people who need them. This country has to be able to recognise people in all their diversity,” he said. (SB)